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Daring Cooks August 2009|Rice with Mushrooms, Cuttlefish and Artichokes

Spanish artichokes and seafood with rice-01

Hey it’s August 15th…which means I’m late posting for Daring Cooks…again! And I’m short on time today, which means this is going to be short and sweet (a lot more delicious than sweet, really), again. I thought summer was supposed to go at a more relaxed pace than the rest of the year…

This month our Daring Cooks host was Olga from Las Cosas de Olga and Olga’s Recipes. She chose a delicious Spanish recipe, Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes by José Andrés. And if you make it, you’re gonna love it.

First things first – the husband had two bites of this and asked if we could make it again the next week. It’s that good.

I’d never made sofregit before and it was remarkably easy – everything into the pan and cook for an hour.

Spanish artichokes and seafood with rice-0

The first time I made the dish (all the photos are from that attempt), I used canned tomatoes. I think they would be fine, but I really wrung out the juices and probably shouldn’t have. The second time I used fresh tomatoes and the sauce needed no water added to it while cooking. So if you used canned tomatoes, I’d keep the juice handy in case your sofregit needs a little extra liquid. I also used canned artichokes packed in water, which worked very well.

Cuttlefish could not be found, so we opted for a frozen seafood blend from Trader Joe’s (scallops, shrimp and squid). I used long grain rice (it’s what we had here), which took quite a while to cook. I’m always afraid of rubbery seafood, and the rest of the dish seemed to be in no danger of overcooking, so I waited until the rice was pretty much done before adding the seafood. Worked like a charm.

The recipe says to add two or three tablespoons of the sofregit – I added all of it. There was no room in the fridge and it tasted so good, I figured why not? It’s a good move – I’m not sure how this dish would be with two or three tablespoons (if you watch the video of Jose making the dish, “tablespoons” are more like “heaping scoops”).

Last note – I tried to make the Allioli with the mortar and pestle. I really did.

Spanish artichokes and seafood with rice-2

Maybe it’s because ours is cast iron or maybe it’s something I did, but you can see from the photo that it’s not all that. The second time I made this dish, I used the modern version of the recipe – it was fantastic! The only thing I’d do differently is crush the garlic (maybe in the mortar and pestle, just to make myself feel like I’m doing it the old fashioned way!) before adding it to the sauce to be blended. The hand blender made a thick, almost mayonnaise-like sauce that was gorgeous. I put in a couple of extra garlic cloves (because we’re like that), and even though it says not to, we ate it the next day (rebels, I know).

Thanks to Olga for this gorgeous challenge – I’m fairly certain that I’ve never made anything Spanish before, aside from tapas, and I’m glad that this was the first Spanish entry to our regular menu – I know there will be many more. If you want to see more of this deliciousness, be sure to stop by The Daring Kitchen to see some spectacular photos, or stop by these fantastic blogs to see other completed challenges!

Spanish artichokes and seafood with rice-3

Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes

Cooking time: 45 minutes
Equipment:

* 1 Chopping Board
* 1 knife
* 1 medium saucepan
* 1 Paella pan (30 cm/11” is enough for 4 people. If not available, you may use a simple pan that size)
* 1 Saucepan

Ingredients (serves 4):

* 4 Artichokes (you can use jarred or frozen if fresh are not available)
* 12 Mushrooms (button or Portobello)
* 1 or 2 Bay leaves (optional but highly recommended)
* 1 glass of white wine
* 2 Cuttlefish (you can use frozen cuttlefish or squid if you don’t find it fresh)
* “Sofregit” (see recipe below)
* 300 gr (2 cups) Short grain rice (Spanish types Calasparra or Montsant are preferred, but you can choose any other short grain. This kind of rice absorbs flavor very well) – about 75 gr per person ( ½ cup per person) Please read this for more info on suitable rices.
* Water or Fish Stock (use 1 ½ cup of liquid per ½ cup of rice)
* Saffron threads (if you can’t find it or afford to buy it, you can substitute it for turmeric or yellow coloring powder)
* Allioli (olive oil and garlic sauce, similar to mayonnaise sauce) – optional (but not really – it’s one of the best things about this dish!)

Directions:

1. Cut the cuttlefish in little strips.
2. Add 1 or 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and put the cuttlefish in the pan.
3. If you use fresh artichokes, clean them as shown in the video in tip #7. Cut artichokes in eights.
4. Clean the mushrooms and cut them in fourths.
5. Add a bay leaf to the cuttlefish and add also the artichokes and the mushrooms.
6. Sauté until we get a golden color in the artichokes.
7. Put a touch of white wine so all the solids in the bottom of the get mixed, getting a more flavorful dish.
8. Add a couple or three tablespoons of sofregit and mix to make sure everything gets impregnated with the sofregit.
9. Add all the liquid and bring it to boil.
10. Add all the rice. Let boil for about 5 minutes in heavy heat.
11. Add some saffron thread to enrich the dish with its flavor and color. Stir a little bit so the rice and the other ingredients get the entire flavor. If you’re using turmeric or yellow coloring, use only 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Turn to low heat and boil for another 8 minutes (or until rice is a little softer than “al dente”)
13. Put the pan away from heat and let the rice stand a couple of minutes.

Sofregit

(a well cooked and fragrant sauce made of olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and onions, and may at times different vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms)-

Cooking time: aprox. 1 hour
Ingredients:

* 2 tablespoons of olive oil
* 5 big red ripe tomatoes, chopped
* 2 small onions, chopped
* 1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
* 4 or 5 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 cup of button or Portobello mushrooms, chopped (optional)
* 1 Bay leaf
* Salt
* Touch of ground cumin
* Touch of dried oregano

Directions:

1. Put all the ingredients together in a frying pan and sauté slowly until all vegetables are soft.
2. Taste and salt if necessary (maybe it’s not!)

Allioli

Allioli (Traditional recipe)
Cooking time: 20 min aprox.
Ingredients:

* 4 garlic cloves, peeled
* Pinch of salt
* Fresh lemon juice (some drops)
* Extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish preferred but not essential)

Directions:

1. Place the garlic in a mortar along with the salt.
2. Using a pestle, smash the garlic cloves to a smooth paste. (The salt stops the garlic from slipping at the bottom of the mortar as you pound it down.)
3. Add the lemon juice to the garlic.
4. Drop by drop; pour the olive oil into the mortar slowly as you continue to crush the paste with your pestle.
5. Keep turning your pestle in a slow, continuous circular motion in the mortar. The drip needs to be slow and steady. Make sure the paste soaks up the olive oil as you go.
6. Keep adding the oil, drop by drop, until you have the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. If your allioli gets too dense, add water to thin it out. This takes time—around 20 minutes of slow motion around the mortar—to create a dense, rich sauce.

José’s tips for traditional recipe: It’s hard to think that, when you start crushing the garlic, it will ever turn into something as dense and smooth as allioli. But don’t give up. It’s worth the extra time and effort to see the oil and garlic come together before your eyes. Just make sure you’re adding the olive oil slowly, drop by drop. Keep moving the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion and keep dreaming of the thick, creamy sauce at the end of it all.

Allioli a la moderna (Modern recipe)
Cooking time: 3-4 minutes
Ingredients:

* 1 small egg
* 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil (as above, Spanish oil is highly recommended)
* 1 garlic clove, peeled
* 1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice (if Sherry vinegar is not available, use can use cider or white vinegar)
* Salt to taste

Directions:

1. Break the egg into a mixing bowl.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice.
3. Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste.
4. Little by little, add what’s left of the olive oil as you continue blending.
5. If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce.
6. Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli.
7. The sauce will be a lovely yellow color.
8. Add salt to taste.

José’s tips for modern recipe:
(1) If you do not have access to a hand blender, you can use a hand mixer (the kind with the two beaters) or a food processor. If you use a food processor, you must double the recipe or the amount will be too little for the blades to catch and emulsify.
(2) What happens if the oil and egg separate? Don’t throw it out. You can do two things. One is to whisk it and use it as a side sauce for a fish or vegetable. But if you want to rescue the allioli, take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water in another beaker and start adding to the mix little by little. Blend it again until you create the creamy sauce you wanted.

Olga’s Tips:
(1) In Spain, rice is not stirred as often as it is when cooking Italian risotto. You must stir it once or twice maximum. This tip is valid for all Spanish rice dishes like paella, arròs negre, arròs a banda…
(2) When cooking the alternative style you can change the cuttlefish or squid for diced potato.
(3) If you can’t find cuttlefish or squid, or you’re not able to eat them because of allergies, you can try to substitute them for chicken or vegetables at your choice.
(4) Sofregit can be done in advance. You can keep it in the fridge or even freeze it.
(5) For more information on how to clean and remove the heart of artichokes, please watch this video
(6) To watch how Jose Andres cooks this dish click here.
(7) To tone down the taste when you do it by hand in a mortar, then add an egg yolk. If you want to tone it down in the alternative way use milk or soy milk. Anyway, the best alternative way is the original oil and garlic alone.
(8) Allioli must be consumed during the preparation day and preserved in the fridge before using it.
(9) For help on conversion on metric to imperial, visit this page.

4 Comments

  1. Lincoln says:

    Yummy

  2. Wow what lovely pics and yes you BH is correct this is one delicious recipe. I like how you are interested in changing and tweaking the recipe to suit you tastebuds. Wonderful effort and bravo from Audax in Australia
    .-= Audax Artifex´s last blog ..Hazelnut Citrus Stone Fruit Macarons #4 =-.

  3. Thanks for the kind link! Glad you liked the recipe although there were some bits to it that were less then pleasant. I keep hearing people talk about the modern way of making the aioli and I think I do have to try that too. I’ve only done the classic way which I loved, but am now curious to try the modern version too!
    .-= Simone (junglefrog)´s last blog ..Rice with mushrooms, cuttlefish and artichokes: Daring Cooks August =-.

  4. Lisa says:

    Kath, if I had participated in this challenge, I would have made the aioli using the stick blender myself…along with an egg yolk. Creamy and ‘mayo-ish’ is how I like my aioli too..so kudos on that one! I ‘also’ would have added all the sofregit, because how can something so good be too much with rice and seafood? Bottom line, even though I didn’t make the dish, through you, I kind of feel like I did, since (as mentioned already) that’s exactly how I would have done it, including the seafood mix minus the cuttlefish. However, not sure my photos would have looked as mouth watering as yours 🙂 Fantastic job…’our challenge’ came out awesome! ;D
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Pomegranate sticks to the Ribs =-.

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